What’s AI got to do with copywriting? Not much …

All the talk about AI for copywriting serves to highlight a basic misunderstanding of what copywriting is and what it isn’t.

What AI bots do is produce content. That’s not copywriting. Copywriting – whether for commercial marketing or fundraising – is NOT about producing content. If it were simply about that, then AI might have a place. But it’s not. And it doesn’t.

Copywriting is about persuasion. And because of that, it relies heavily on the rhetorical triangle. Yes, Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle.

He tells us that persuasion consists of three basic things:

Ethos – this is about the writer and his or her credibility — which is essential for your prospect to accept and believe your argument.

Pathos – this is the emotional aspect and how you tap into your prospect’s feelings.

Logos – this is the logical argument, the left-brain part.

The secret to the rhetorical triangle is how you use it. Depending on you, your purpose, and your audience, you could use just one part of the triangle (say, pathos), you could use two parts (say, pathos and ethos), or you could use all three.

Or you could use two and emphasize one over the other in your copy. You could use all three and emphasize two of the three over the third. You get the idea. Point is, there are lots of variations here.

And that IS the point. Because there are lots of variations, creativity is involved. Creativity in which of the rhetorical aspects you use in a given project. Creativity in how you choose to express ethos, pathos, or logos (lots and lots of options here). Creativity in how you put all of it together. And creativity in how you craft it into a cohesive whole.

Copywriting is made up of the many, many decisions the writer makes with regard to all this. Some of these decisions are based on education, experience, and training. Some are based on intuition. Some are based on esthetic sense. Some are done consciously and some subconsciously. All these considerations come into play and combine to make up an effective piece of copywriting.

No, copywriting isn’t about producing content. That’s because an effective piece of copywriting isn’t just content. It’s one human being who is appealing to and connecting emotionally with another human being. No bot, regardless of how sophisticated, can do that.

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